QuickLinks 105 - 29 January 1999
Legal and regulatory issues
Access to public sector information / IT in government
- UK - Police use Web to net criminals
Scotland Yard is planning to launch the first British police version of America's famous "10 Most Wanted Fugitives" list. The dedicated Website will feature London's most notorious murders, rapes, armed robberies and gangland criminals appealing for information from around the globe.
- Microsoft To Get AOL/Netscape/Sun Deal Docs
(CMPnet Computer Reseller News)
Microsoft scored a victory in its ongoing antitrust battle when the Department of Justice was ordered to turn over to Microsoft's attorneys documents that detail the mega-merger of Netscape and AOL, Microsoft's largest rivals.
- USA - Microsoft loses round to card firm
A California judge ordered Microsoft to stop interfering with the delivery of electronic greetings cards sent by Blue Mountain Arts. He issued a preliminary injunction requiring Microsoft to stop its Outlook Express email program from placing Blue Mountain electronic greeting cards in a "junk mail" folder.
- EU - Consumer Dimension of the Information Society
The Council Resolution of 19 January 1999 on the Consumer Dimension of the Information Society has been published in the Official Journal (OJ C 23 of 28.1.99, p. 1-3). The resolution invites the Commission to examine existing Community consumer-related legislation in the new circumstances arising from the Information Society, and to take all necessary steps to ensure that consumer interests are given full consideration in any policy proposal concerning the information society presented by the Commission. OJ online for 45 days.
- German self-regulatory body to pass on complaints to authorities where danger to life, limb or liberty
Die Mitglieder der Freiwilligen Selbstkontrolle Multimedia (FSM) beschlossen, das Beschwerdeverfahren in einem wichtigen Punkt zu ändern: In Zukunft wird die FSM die zuständigen Behörden über den Inhalt von Beschwerden über Online-Inhalte informieren, wenn sich bei der Prüfung der Verdacht einer konkreten Gefahr für Leib, Leben oder Freiheit von Personen ergibt.
- Iran - Top Cleric Warns Of Internet, Satellite Threat
A top Iranian cleric warned against the "threat" of the Internet and satellite television to Iranian society and called for counteracting such influence with films on the history of Islam. Under Iranian law, satellite television receivers are banned. Internet users - mostly government organizations and professionals such as journalists - have to get an official permit and promise not to connect to "immoral" sites or those "against national security."
more items in archive.
Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology sectors
- USA - Internet groups fail to get open access to cable
Internet and online service providers suffered a setback in their bid to get equal access to high-speed Internet systems offered by cable television operators. The Federal Communications Commission, in a report to Congress, rejected for now the Internet companies' request to force cable operators to open their high-speed lines to competitors at a fair price. The agency might revisit the issue in the future.
Copyright, trademarks and patents
- BSA: Loot a tool for software pirates
The Business Software Alliance issued a clear ultimatum to the classified daily ads paper Loot -- sort out the software pirates, or face sanctions from Britain's Trading Standards authority. BSA said it has identified London-based Loot as a tool used by software pirates to sell their illegal wares.
- Sightsound claims music monopoly
Internet multimedia distributor Sightsound.com has claimed that it owns the patent for the sale and distribution of music and video content over the Internet.
Data Protection (privacy)
- Intel to modify chip amid privacy groups' boycott
Intel, the world's largest chip maker, said it would modify its plans to have built-in user identification numbers on its forthcoming Pentium III chip, amid a call from privacy groups to boycott Intel products. Last week, Intel announced that its new Pentium III processor will include a unique serial number and a random number generator, features which the chip maker said will make it safer for customers buying goods over the Internet.
- USA - NY woman sues over naked Internet photos
A New York woman who was shocked to see herself naked in photos on the Internet has sued her plastic surgeon, who she alleged posted the pictures on his website without her consent.
- Germany - Seit Montag sind digitale Signaturen für Geschäfte im Internet erhältlich
[Germany's first official digital signatures] Die Kontroll-und Genehmigungsbehörde für digitale Signaturen in Deutschland nahm am Montag in Mainz den Betrieb auf. Sie verwaltet die digitalen Signaturen. Das neue Mainzer Amt untersteht der Bonner Regulierungsbehörde. Es vergibt Lizenzen an Unternehmen, die digitale Signaturen in einer Chipkarte herstellen. Dem Mainer Amt liegen derzeit rund 33 Lizenzanträge vor. In Deutschland ist bislang einzig die Deutsche Telekom zugelassene Ausgabestelle.
- Speculators Inundate InterNIC
Network Solutions has beefed up its staff and infrastructure to cope with an onslaught of fraudulent name registrations that the company said is tying up the service. A small number of malicious groups are spamming the Net's sole domain-name registrar with phony electronic registration applications.
- White Paper on Commerce: a Commission's new strategy
The European Commission has adopted a White Paper on Commerce. The action plan includes a chapter, entitled "Commerce and the new technologies", proposing among others: 1. Creation of a web site inventorying awareness, training and operational tools for enterprises to take advantage of electronic commerce; 2. Preparation and publication of a study identifying best business sites on the Internet; and 3. A pilot project to enable the commercial viability of the supply of basic electronic commerce services to a large number of small companies.
- EU - Commission launches "One Stop Internet Shop for Business"
A One Stop Internet Shop for Business wishing to know more about the business framework and opportunities in the Single Market has been created by the European Commission on the internet
- EU - E-commerce directive - full texts now available
Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive on certain legal aspects of electronic commerce in the internal market: COM(98) 586 final
- USA - Wiretapping Requests Not Affordable, CTIA Tells FCC
The technology that law-enforcement agencies want installed to support wiretapping would add $1 million to the cost of every wireless switch, according to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA). The association claimed the total cost of providing the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other law enforcement agencies with all the capabilities they are seeking would exceed $5 billion.
Internet access and use
- European Internet strike
The biggest Internet strike yet has been organised for Sunday 31 January with eight European countries taking part. Organised by the Campaign for Unmetered Telecommunications, campaigners are calling for Internet users to boycott the Net for 24 hours. Participating countries are Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.
- France - Tarif d'accès à internet: l'ART écarte l'idée du forfait illimité
(Agence France Presse)
L'Autorité de régulation des télécommunications (ART) a demandé à France Télécom de lui soumettre des propositions de forfaits "donnant droit chaque mois à un nombre limité d'heures de connexion" à Internet, excluant de facto le forfait illimité réclamé par les associations d'internautes.
Security and encryption
- Thai hacker still at large
The United States sought Thai help via Interpol to try to trace a hacker who attempted to break into U.S. military computers from a public Internet terminal at December's Asian Games. Police, U.S. embassy officials, and computer experts found the computer the hacker had used, but were unable to track him down.
- Virtual country 'nuked' on Net
The Indonesian Government is being blamed for a highly-organised attack on computers in Ireland which brought down the East Timor virtual country domain. Connect-Ireland says it is lodging a formal protest with the Indonesian Embassy in London after it was forced to shut down its systems, disrupting its Internet service provision to 3,000 customers.
- USA - Clinton tackling cyber terrorism
President Clinton proposed a $1.46 billion initiative designed to protect the United States against attacks from cyber, biological and chemical terrorism. The president's Cyber Corps plan will be included in his fiscal 2000 budget proposal. The plan will fund four new initiatives: A research project to detect intruders trying to break into critical computer systems. Building crime detection networks, starting with the Department of Defense. Creating information centers in the private sector to encourage private-government cooperation on cyberthreats. Bolstering the government's ranks of computer experts able to prevent and respond to computer crises.
- USA - U.S. court revives phone competition rules
The Supreme Court overturned a lower court decision and revived federal rules designed to pry open the $100 billion market for local telephone service to competition. The FCC's rules require the Bells and GTE to lease to competitors, including major long distance companies like AT&T Corp. and MCI WorldCom Inc., portions of their local telephone networks at deeply discounted prices. see also FCC delays two telecom issues after court ruling.
- Australian Net Industry To Join Asian Net Links Protest
The Australian Internet industry has signaled it will support the push by Asian telecommunications providers to call on US Internet backbone providers to pay a share of the cost of trans-Pacific Internet links.
- EU set to reignite debate over post offices
The EU is preparing to launch a debate on whether to liberalise its postal sector - and if so, how quickly. In 1997 the European Commission proposed opening up competition in two key sectors - cross-border mail and direct mail. But it was defeated after several countries - notably France - led a vigorous campaign for a go-slow approach.
- Palestinians get their very own country code
In a step seen as symbolizing international support for their independence, Palestinians were granted their own telephone code for calls from abroad. The country code 970 was officially given to the Palestinian Authority this month.
Market & Technology
- Yahoo's e-commerce vision prevails
Yahoo will dump GeoCities' e-commerce efforts in favor of its hosted storefronts and extend its personal auctions, classified ads, and direct marketing activities to GeoCities' 3.5 million users.
more items in archive.
Employment and social issues
- Ericsson to slash 11,000 positions
Swedish telecommunications giant Telefon AB LM Ericsson expanded the scope of its plans to slash its work force, saying it will cut more than 11,000 jobs world-wide in the next two years to reflect technological and market trends.
Euro and millennium bug
- Euro doesn't compute for Microsoft
Microsoft is taking its program Money off the German market. The move was triggered by complications caused by a bug in Germany, associated with the changeover to the euro -- Europe's new unified currency -- in online banking. Microsoft said versions of the program for Switzerland and Austria, which also use the German language, are not affected by the bug.
- Yahoo! to Acquire GeoCities
Yahoo! will acquire homesteading community site GeoCities, in a stock deal valued at about $3.6 billion. Founded in 1994, GeoCities boasts 3.5 million sites authored and hosted on its network. According to Web measurement firm Media Metrix, GeoCities is one of the top three individual sites on the Internet, with a combined home/work reach of 33.4 percent, as of December 1998. Yahoo! claims more than 35 million unique registrations for its global services, with 167 million page views per day.
- Microsoft Invests $500 Million in British Cable Firm
Microsoft will invest $500 million in NTL, Britain's No. 3 cable television operator, to help develop a high-speed communications network in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Quality of service
Security and encryption
- Internet Chat Wars Spill Over
A growing number of network administrators are finding themselves on the receiving end of a "Smurf" attack that they can't stop. Smurf works by sending out a ping to hundreds or even thousands of sites and telling them to all respond to a single IP address. Without warning, users on IRC chat will find their entire bandwidth completely flooded with millions of ping responses, which overwhelms their connection and floods them off.
- AOL, CompuServe Reach 3 Million International Subscribers
America Online now has more than 2 million members outside the United States, bringing the total number of AOL and CompuServe international subscribers to 3 million.
- Boost to BBC Online
BBC Online has become the second most popular site in the UK. 42% of UK web users visited the BBC site, second only to the 61% who used the popular search engine Yahoo! UK. The news comes as the BBC's ratings on television continue to decline in the face of competition from satellite and cable operators. The audience share for BBC One has now fallen below 30%.
- Fifth Framework Programme Information Days
On 25 and 26 February 1999, the European Commission is holding a major conference in Essen, Germany to launch the Fifth Framework Programme, which will cover all the research, technological development and demonstration activities of the European Union for the period 1999-2002.
Links to news items about
legal and regulatory aspects of Internet and the information society, and
market and technology
edited by Richard Swetenham
- Contributors: TKRNEWS, Gerhard Heine
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